Featuring Agents: Lovejoy, Todd, and Rosenbaum
He can’t draw, but he sure can cause a scene.
IE Agents Lovejoy and Todd were ready to stage another Central Park mission. Will they avoid the wrath of the evil park ranger this time around? Read on and find out! Todd borrowed a chair from a nearby cafe by paying a $60 deposit to the manager. Lovejoy took the chair and set up on the edge of the park, right around 62nd and 5th Avenue. He positioned himself in the middle of a group of about 6 portrait artists. The going rates were $50 for a realistic drawing and $5 for a caricature; Lovejoy offered his drawings for twenty-five cents.
Rosenbaum casually reads while Lovejoy draws a customer.
Lovejoy made a sign advertising his ‘quarter drawings’ and attempted to get customers. The other portrait artists were visibly irritated at his rock bottom prices. In the meantime, Improv Everywhere associate Rob Rosenbaum takes a seat on a nearby bench and keeps to himself, reading a book. Unnoticed by all, Rosenbaum has a video camera hidden in his lap and records the entire mission!
Wait a minute! It’s hidden camera time!
Business is slow for all of the portrait artists on this Sunday afternoon and all are having difficulty stopping potential customers as they walk by. Perhaps out of boredom, or perhaps just out of curiosity, one of the artists (pictured above in the denim jacket) approaches Lovejoy and requests a twenty-five cent drawing. Lovejoy takes about ten minutes to complete his drawing.
Lovejoy draws his peer while a third artist looks on, with suspicion.
The final product is horrible. The ‘art’ is on the same skill level as the average fourth grader. Lovejoy declares that he will give the drawing to the man for free as he is a fellow artist. The man, who does not speak very good English, is very happy with his free drawing and returns to his chair to solicit customers.
Lovejoy autographs his masterpiece.
Enter Agent Todd. Todd walks by the artists and expresses interest in getting a portrait made. All six artists aggressively bid for his business, and Todd eventually settles on Lovejoy, paying him $20 for a portrait [at this point the twenty-five cent drawing idea has been ditched]. The other artists are NOT happy with the fact that the ‘new guy’ has won the bidding war. One of them (the female Asian seen two photos above) is so upset that she moves her chair right next to Lovejoy and begins to draw Todd at the same time. She eventually gives up and stops drawing when Agent Todd makes it clear to her that he is not going to pay her for it. He is happy with the artist he has selected.
Todd becomes skeptical.
Things take a turn for the worse as Lovejoy refuses to show Todd the progress he is making on the drawing. He begins to ask those walking through the park to look at the drawing for him, “Hey, does that look like me? I think I’m getting ripped off here!”. For some reason, Todd could not get a straight answer from anyone. The other artists refused to comment on the drawing; one claimed with a smirk, “it would not be right to critique another artist’s work in front of a customer”. Todd became increasingly irritated and began to demand that Lovejoy “hurry up” and insist that the drawing “better be good”.
After thirty minutes of drawing, Lovejoy finally shows Todd the results. Todd is furious. He begins to shout, “Hey! Does this look like me!? I paid $20 for this crap! Do NOT go to this guy. This is a rip off!!” Those walking through the park begin to stop and a small crowd forms. Todd begins to demand his money back, “I want my $20 back. That’s the least you can do!”. Lovejoy flatly refuses. All sales are final. Members from the crowd begin to shout at Lovejoy, telling him that Todd deserves a refund. He continues to refuse. One of the other caricature artists approaches Todd and out of pity, offers to do a free drawing of Todd. Todd accepts.
Todd calms down and poses for his free caricature. The other artists begin to approach him to talk about what happened. They all assure Todd that they have never seen Lovejoy before and that he is not a real artist, but a con man. In the meantime two workers in the nearby cafe have witnessed everything that has happened and are furious that the con man stole a chair from their cafe to perform his dirty deed; they leave the scene of the crime and return moments later with Leo, the security guard. Leo is not happy with Lovejoy. “Hey buddy, you got some nerve. You ain’t gonna be stealing no more chairs, son.” Lovejoy protests that he paid a $60 deposit for the chair. “You didn’t pay no $60 for nuthin’. We don’t loan these chairs. You are lying to me, son!” Leo leaves to get more security guards to deal with Lovejoy, and all of the sudden it looks like our IE Agents are in trouble.
The only person who can straighten out the problem is Agent Todd (who borrowed the chair in the first place), but he’s stuck in character posing for his caricature. He tells the artist that he is in a hurry, and fortunately the artist is able to quickly finish up (perhaps this is why the caricature is so bad?). Out of guilt, Todd pays the artist his full price of $5, thanks him, and leaves the scene. He is able to get his $60 deposit back from the manager and skip town before the angry Leo returns. Our hidden cameraman, Rosenbaum, is able to stay in the park to watch the aftermath and record people’s reactions.
- Woman finds Lovejoy’s drawing so terrible, that she takes a photo of it.
- Conversation between the two cafe workers, after Todd and Lovejoy left:
- One: First I thought it was some kind of joke. It was so terrible. But then that guy started getting so pissed off, “I got ripped off! I got ripped off!”
- Two: That was the craziest thing I ever saw.
- One: Man, I felt sorry for that guy. I couldn’t believe it.
- Two: Yeah, he’s a tourist.
- One: That artist guy had balls, though. I can’t believe he followed Leo all the way to the cafe!
- Lovejoy explains to a woman that he has created a new form of art, “neo-bleeberism”.
- After Todd and Lovejoy have left, woman is heard saying, “He asked me if it looked like him, and I wanted to bust out laughing!”
The agents were able to avoid the evil park ranger, but Leo may be even worse! Mission Accomplished.